agentsof chaos 2James Luceno
Del Rey

A string of smashing victories by the forces of the sinister aliens known as the Yuuzhan Vong has left the New Republic resources and morale stretched to the breaking point. Leia Organa Solo, estranged from her husband, Han, oversees the evacuation of refugees on planets in the path of the merciless invaders. Luke Skywalker struggles to hold the fractious Jedi Knights together, even while one of them undertakes a bold but reckless undercover mission. Manipulating their alliance with the amoral Hutts, the Yuuzhan Vong leave a cunning trail of vital information where New Republic agents are sure to find it–information the desperate defenders cannot afford to ignore: the location of the alien’s next target. Then Han Solo stumbles into the dark heart of a raging battle, thus beginning a furious race against time that will require every skill and trick in his arsenal to win…

Part two of the two-part Agents of Chaos storyline finds Han Solo helping the Ryn refugee he literally ran into in part one trying to find his clan members, which takes them undercover onto a world profiting off of the thousands displaced by the Yuuzhan Vong attacks. Meanwhile, the Hutts are playing both the Vong and New Republic for their own benefit (typical), and a Jedi Knight bent on avenging the death of friends allows himself to be captured as a slave, only to discover what dwells in the hearts of the Yuuzhan Vong fleets. A little hint: it’s part Lovecraftian nightmare, part Henti fanfic. Yeah. Oh, and Princess Leia seeks the help of a former boyfriend to fight off a potential invasion, an ancient alien artifact is being brought online that has the power to make the Death Star seem like a mere bug zapper, and a New Republic senator is looking like she loves herself some Yuuzhan Vong rule.

Five books into The New Jedi Order, and thus far it’s been a rather enjoyable space opera. I especially enjoy the further exploration of the Yuuzhan Vong’s biotechnology and the way it all functions; which, when you think about it, would make the Yuuzhan Vong the ultimate ecoterrorists dreamed up. Also, Han’s interaction with the Gypsy-like Ryn refugee Droma was rather amusing, as they find themselves amidst misadventures while trying to find his people.

I do find myself a bit mystified as to the choice of subtitle: Jedi Eclipse. Except for a handful of scenes, the Jedi weren’t really featured prominently. Then again, the further vilification of the Jedi by the New Republic governing body amidst the Yuuzhan Vong crisis might have something to do with the subtitle. Regardless, Jedi Eclipse was another good, well-executed entry in this ongoing space yarn odyssey.